How to Skip Gym: A Guide for Pre-K to Pre-Med

Going is half the battle.

Gym Class: The Bane of Your Existence & You

Going is half the battle.

By Olivia W. McCoy, University of Georgia

I don’t know about you, but there is one class that I loathed more than anything growing up.

I would grovel at my mother’s feet begging her to write me an excused absence for that hour of the day. When that tired move had failed—as it always inevitably did—I turned to the omnipotent source of all information, the internet.

Over the years, I have read many articles discussing how to avoid the seemingly unavoidable, and aside from learning a multitude of ways to cut class and ditch school (something I do NOT recommend, unless you feel an overwhelming desire to experience an In-School Suspension) nothing came to my aid.

How to Skip Gym: A Guide for Pre-K to Pre-MedBeing the small waif of a girl that I was, I was constantly overlooked and therefore constantly injured. I lived in constant feat of The Ball. No matter the sport, I guarantee you that if there was a spheroid of some sort, ANY sort—a puck, birdie, hoola-hoop—I was hit in the face by it.

It didn’t matter where I was on the court or who I chose to cower behind that day, my fate was inevitable. At the beginning of every class for two years I pleaded for sideline sanctuary, always in vain. I learned to abhor the words “Just give it a try, Sweetie,” as they would echo in my ears at night, willing their way into my nightmares.

All hope was lost, gone forever—until my second grade. The answer was so obvious. My epiphany came to me in the tenderhearted form of a basketball ricocheting off my head. All this time, I possessed an undeniable power of exclusion, something woven into my genetic makeup, and it was this: The power of the pitiable and the universal concern for the klutz.

What I’m about to tell you will change your life forever, and while the journey to mastering this power is painful and risky, it is the only sure way I have found to avoid more agony than necessary. If you are as desperate as I was, you will thank me.

Elementary School

To win the benefit of the doubt, all you need to do is make it LOOK like you were actually trying. Then, nature will take its course. All they want from you is an effort, so follow my lead and become an actor.

When asked to run, I would run. In fact, I would sprint (no use saving energy if I am guaranteed an out after a few solid seconds) and in doing so I would inescapably trip over my two left feet and fall to the polished wooden floor.

Here is where a little artifice is required. I mentioned the state of the floor because this is key: As you are falling, be aware that you land on your side as to avoid serious injury (unless you want to REALLY go for it and get a medical leave of absence for the rest of the semester) and maximize sliding potential.

You want to hit the ground and skid because the farther you skate, the less you’ll have to wait. Add the cherry on top by laying there, motionless and stunned.

Don’t worry about getting the teacher. If you did everything correctly, he’ll have noticed. And even if you didn’t, the runner (AKA the peer that waits for disaster to strike so that they can be the ones to notify the teacher) will inform him thus.

And there you have it. No need to cry or injure your reputation, and even an amateur can pull off the dazed factor. The coach will feel so bad that you hurt yourself doing what he asked that you’ll be in the corner playing puzzles in no time.

Middle School

This might be the easiest piece of advice to follow because all you have to do to get out of that rank uniform (I’m sure you’ve been meaning to bring it home to have it washed, but it’s not like you were actually making a sweat anyway right?) this time is avoid the urge to seek cover.

Everyone is middle school is gawky, lanky, stretched out thin and tall, or compressed to miniature proportions, so use these hindrances as bait. I know that all I had to do to seal the deal was stand still.

You see at this age I was short, but not so short that the death-dealing dodgeballs would fly overhead. Actually, I was the exact necessary height to be hit directly in the nose. I knew that my reflexes were a joke and that if I flinched, then the consequences were just as unpleasant but without the reward of the nurse’s office.

So I would get into position and wait (it was never long) for a merciful adolescent to free me from my obligations. The coaches got so tired of cleaning the bloodstains off the linoleum that they began to ask me to skip. Solitary studying in the library, and I never felt more at liberty.

High School

While you will have to do SOMETHING to satisfy your graduation requirements, there’s an easy way out.

I chose marching band, because what can be so taxing about walking around with a dainty instrument? Big. Mistake.

The hours were grueling, the heat unforgiving, and the damage to my knees, thumbs (clarinets are heavier than they appear apparently) and psyche is irrevocable. Don’t be like me. Be smart and take online P.E. The most you’ll have to do are a few jumping jacks and read up on the human condition.


I will never fully comprehend why physical education is still a prerequisite at most upscale (and not-so upscale) four year institutions. It seems that we have paid our dues, with interest(!) and should be spared now that we are free-willed adults. But alas, there it is, those crimson bolded words on my transcript, mocking me: Still Required: P.E. 1 Credit hour.

So here’s my advice, wait until your senior year because you’ll have first pick at registration, and have planned in advance your poison. Most schools will offer a plethora of options, some of which are complete blow offs—walking, yoga—as or at least possibly (but not hopefully) useful—self-defense, archery. I suggest you take advantage of the ONE time procrastination that may work in your favor.

So there you have it, a guide to ditching dodgeball from me to you. Stay safe and klutz it up, my friends.

Olivia McCoy, University of Georgia

English and French
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